ORLANDO – Rommel Garcia of the Houston Police Department won the Jimmy K. Ammons Grand Champion Award last month in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 25th annual North American Inspectors Championship.
Garcia earned the highest combined score in six competition categories to take the top award.
Fifty-one commercial motor vehicle inspectors representing jurisdictions throughout North America participated in the competition, the only event dedicated to testing, recognizing and awarding commercial motor vehicle inspector excellence.
“As we celebrate 25 years of NAIC this year, we’re also celebrating another historic accomplishment,” said CVSA President Julius Debuschewitz of Yukon Highways and Public Works. “This is the first time in NAIC history that a local member has earned the Grand Champion Award.”
All of the inspection categories were timed events and the compilation of scores for those categories result in a grand champion, which is the highest honor for commercial motor vehicle roadside inspectors.
The six competition categories in which each inspector is tested and scored are:
- North American Standard Level I Inspection
- North American Standard Level I Inspection Procedure
- North American Standard Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods Inspection
- North American Standard Cargo Tank/Other Bulk Packagings Inspection
- North American Standard Level V Passenger Carrier Vehicle Inspection
- North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria Exam
A special award, the John Youngblood Award of Excellence, is an honor NAIC contestants bestow on a fellow inspector who exemplifies the high standards and unwavering dedication to the profession.
This year, NAIC contestants voted to present the award to Erick McGuire of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Awards were given for first, second and third place in the following inspection categories.
North American Standard Level I Inspection:
- First Place – Rommel Garcia, local member, Houston Police Department
- Second Place – Thomas Disterhaft, Wisconsin State Patrol
- Third Place – Darren Kennedy, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
North American Standard Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods and Cargo Tank/Bulk Packagings Inspection:
- First Place – Jose Najera, Texas Department of Public Safety
- Second Place – Steven Payne, Oklahoma Highway Patrol
- Third Place – Lance Skoog, Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
North American Standard Level V Passenger Carrier Vehicle Inspection:
- First Place – Mark Wisner, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
- Second Place – Erick McGuire, Florida Highway Patrol
- Third Place – James Hamrick, Arkansas Highway Police
Team Award – Purple Team:
- Erick McGuire, Florida Highway Patrol
- Steven Hill, Kentucky State Police
- Rommel Garcia, local member, Houston Police Department
- Cindy Campbell, Nevada Highway Patrol
- Adam Trujillo, New Mexico Department of Public Safety
- Tommy Torok, South Dakota Highway Patrol
- Kent Hutchinson, Wyoming Highway Patrol
- Cheryl Anderson, Yukon Highways and Public Works
- Team Leader: Scott Henry, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
An award also was given to each inspector who scored the most points representing the three participating countries, Canada, Mexico and the United States. The following High Points Awards were presented during this year’s NAIC:
- Sean McAlister High Points Canada Award, Darren Kennedy, British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
- High Points Mexico Award, Luis León Merino Gómez
- High Points United States Award, Rommel Garcia, local member, Houston Police Department
In celebration of 25 years of NAIC, each of the competing inspectors and registered volunteers received an exclusive commemorative 25-year anniversary challenge coin.
“The challenge coin not only acknowledges the NAIC anniversary, it’s also a thank you to the competing inspectors for the hard work they do every day to make our roads a safer place,” Debuschewitz said.
“Approximately 4 million roadside safety inspections are conducted each year throughout North America by CVSA-certified inspectors who save lives every day by removing dangerous commercial motor vehicles and drivers from our roadways.”
This year also marked the first year that CVSA presented the Sean McAlister High Points Canada Award, renamed to honor the memory and contributions of Sean McAlister.
McAlister was a well-known leader in the commercial motor vehicle safety community throughout Canada and the United States and a strong supporter of NAIC. He was instrumental in establishing and maintaining the Canadian Education Quality Assurance Team and served as chair of CVSA’s International Legal and Regulatory Affairs Committee, now called the Policy and Regulatory Affairs Committee.
McAlister passed away last year at the age of 57 after a 15-month battle with lung cancer.
NAIC was created to recognize the hard work and expertise of inspectors and officers – the backbone of the commercial motor vehicle safety program in North America – and promote uniformity of inspections through training and education.
NAIC is sponsored by CVSA and many of its federal and associate members. For the past 25 years, the championship event has been held in partnership with the American Trucking Associations’ National Truck and Step Van Driving Championships.